70% increase in school building budget
Capital investment in Higher Education to be almost trebled
First dedicated capital budget for Further Education and Training
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D., the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D., the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D today (Friday the 14th of September) announced a major package of investment in education under Project Ireland 2040, the government’s €116 billion investment and development plan for the next decade.
This major investment will underpin the implementation of the Action Plan for Education, led by Minister Bruton, which is the government’s plan to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.
Education is central to achieving the Government’s overall objectives under Project Ireland 2040- a strong, future-proofed economy, balanced across the regions and a fair society. Education is the engine behind strong national and regional development, delivering the future skill needs of our economy. It is also essential to breaking down barriers and enabling people to fulfil their full potential.
Project Ireland 2040 provides for a €11.9 billion investment in the education and training sector over the period 2018 to 2027. This will deliver:
- A 70% increase in schools capital funding compared to the past decade (€4.9 billion to €8.4 billion). Investment will rise to €1 billion in 2027, compared to €540 million investment in 2018.
- A close to trebling of the Higher Education sector capital budget compared to the past decade (€0.8 billion to €2.2 billion). This will result in an annual average investment of circa. €300 million in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period compared to the €30 million investment in 2018.
- A new dedicated capital budget line for the Further Education and Training sector of €300 million for the 10 year Project Ireland 2040 period.
Announcing this further investment under the Project Ireland 2040, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. said,
“Project Ireland 2040 represents a significant shift in how we as a country plan for our future development. We are taking a much longer term view and linking investment with planning for the first time ever. In the education sector, that means we’re significantly increasing the amount we invest in our schools, colleges and universities. For example, we’ll be boosting the school building budget by 70% over the next ten years and trebling our investment in higher education.
“I am particularly pleased that we’ll be investing in PE halls – modernising old ones and building new ones – to ensure all post primary students can use state of the art PE facilities. This will be especially important as we phase in PE as a Leaving Cert exam subject. Education doesn’t just drive economic success, it’s also crucial to giving everyone the opportunity to fulfil their full potential, in all parts of the country. This ambitious and unprecedented level of investment – almost €12 billion – in our education sector will ensure our this generation of children and the next get the best possible start in life”
Announcing this major investment in education, Minister Bruton said,
“Education is central to, and indeed enables our overall objectives under Project Ireland 2040. Education is critical to planning for a strong, future-proofed economy, balanced across the regions and a fair society, removing barriers to opportunity.
“This €11.9billion investment reflects the importance this government puts on education and will enable our ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. We are investing in modern, state of the art facilities in our schools, higher and further education institutions, which are energy efficient and fit for purpose for the curricular reforms we are making. We are giving schools, higher and further education institutions more certainty over the grants they receive and better lead in times, making it easier to plan.
“Education is the engine behind strong regional growth, which is pivotal rebalancing growth as envisioned by the Project Ireland 2040. It is central to this government’s central objective, which is to provide for a strong economy and a fair society. The investment under the Project Ireland 2040 will have a transformative impact on our education system and take us further along our journey, to becoming the best in Europe.”
Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said,
“Project Ireland 2040 represents a step change for State capital investment in higher education – close to a tripling in funding over the next decade when compared to the past decade.
This will support the sector in realising its potential as a driver of the Project 2040 objectives with regard to more balanced population and employment growth across Ireland’s regions. It will also help address current infrastructure deficits and cater for the projected 20% increase in the higher education student population between now and 2029.”
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D said,
“I am pleased that Project Ireland 2040 includes a €300m capital envelope for Further Education and Training over the course of the 10 year period 2018-2027. With €65m already agreed for 2018-21, this represents an additional €235m over the remaining period of Plan. The additional capital supports will be prioritised to address issues with the condition of the existing capital stock, to roll out critical new apprenticeship syllabi and courses and to consolidate the provision of further education and training in modern, fit-for-purpose facilities that enable the delivery of high quality integrated programmes.”
Overall vision for schools sector
Our ambition is to ensure that our children are being educated in modern, state of the art facilities that are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the reforms we are making to the curriculum that is being taught. We also want to give schools more certainty over the minor works and summer works grants they receive and better lead in times to make it easier for school communities to plan.
We will be investing €8.4 billion in school buildings over the lifetime of Project Ireland 2040.
- Increasing the school building budget by 70%. This will be targeted at delivering on the twin objectives of catering for the continued increase in demographics and a greater focus on refurbishment and upgrade of existing school stock. The government remain committed to delivering on existing projects on the school building programme as soon as possible.
- Providing confirmation that, starting this year, all primary schools will receive the €29 million minor works grant in either December or early January of each school year. We are committing to putting in place a similar grant scheme at post-primary level over the lifetime of the Project Ireland 2040.
- Committing to a Summer Works Scheme every year with schools being given better lead in periods for planning and delivering their projects. The Summer Works Scheme in 2019 will focus on the remaining categories of projects from the previous scheme. A new Summer Works Scheme will open for applications in early 2019 for projects to be delivered from Summer 2020 onwards. This new scheme will also facilitate a school laboratory modernisation programme.
- Taking an integrated approach with the Prefab Replacement Scheme through the replacement of prefabs as part of large-scale projects or as part of new projects approved under the Additional Accommodation Scheme. Construction work on these projects in 2018 and 2019 will facilitate the replacement of over 600 prefabs.
- The commencement and progression of a deep energy retrofit of primary and post-primary schools built prior to 2008 with a view to optimum energy use and conservation in school buildings. A pilot for such works has taken place already, in conjunction with SEAI, seeing participating schools benefitting from increased comfort levels and reduced energy bills. The next phase of the pilot scheme is being undertaken this year and in 2019. Both pilots will inform a rolling national programme of works to begin in earnest in 2022.
Project Ireland 2040 provides the investment necessary to implement the commitments in the Action Plan for Education to reform and modernise the school curriculum:
- Committing to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, starting in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period, that ensures that students in all post-primary schools have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of P.E. as a leaving certificate subject.
- The next phase of the summer works scheme will facilitate a school laboratory modernisation programme, with schools being able to make applications in 2019
- We will invest €420 million in our Digital Strategy for Schools to further embed technology and digital learning in our schools. This investment in ICT in schools will help underpin new subjects which we are introducing, including computer science at leaving cert and coding throughout the curriculum
Overall vision for Higher Education
Our ambition is to realise, over the lifetime of the Plan, a high quality higher education infrastructure that is equipped to cater to a significantly expanded student body; that supports innovative and flexible approaches to teaching and learning, including online provision; that is a driver of the ambitions of Project Ireland 2040 with regard to a more balanced population and employment growth across Ireland’s regions; and that has a sharp focus on developing and sustaining the skills and research base necessary to underpin Ireland’s competitiveness.
Including PPP investments and support for research, we will be investing a total of €2.8 billion in Higher Education over the lifetime of the Project Ireland 2040.
Today’s announcement focuses on key priorities for the coming five years, during which a total of €532m in additional Exchequer funding will be invested in infrastructure development across the sector.
Today we are announcing:
- A €112m refurbishment and upgrade programme. Of this total, three projects worth over €32 million are being announced today – a refurbishment and upgrade of STEM facilities in Dundalk IT, new engineering facilities for LIT Coonagh campus and upgrades to the GMIT Castlebar campus, with further projects in the pipeline to be announced in the coming months.
- Co-funding of significant strategic projects. We will be investing €117 million in Exchequer funding, which we intend will leverage at least a further €117m in other investments:
- Two projects are being announced today – a Future Tech building in DCU and a new Sports Science, Health and Recreation building in IT Tallaght.
- A further €86m is being earmarked to support co-funded strategic projects with the aim of delivering at least the same amount again in private investments. The Higher Education Authority will be writing to Higher Education Institutions in the coming weeks to invite proposals in this category.
- A Devolved Grant for minor works and equipment for all Institutes of Technology, totalling €10m, is also being announced today for the 2018/19 academic year. A review of the Devolved Grant mechanism is also being initiated to inform the approach to capital grants for minor works and equipment in the context of a gradually increasing funding envelope.
Support for research is also a key pillar of the approach of the Department of Education and Skills. Increased funding of €7m on an annual basis from 2019 will support an expansion in the number of awards through the Irish Research Council, as well as the further development of the ICT infrastructure that supports research in higher education institutions. This is in addition to the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, announced as part of the Project Ireland 2040, and other research and innovation investments by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Overall vision for Further Education and Training
Supporting the development of apprenticeships, traineeships and further education is a key priority under the Project Ireland 2040. The government is committed to more than doubling the number of new apprentices registered to 9,000 by 2020 and expanding further into new areas. We will have the first ever capital budget for Further Education and Training under the Project Ireland 2040, which will see €300m invested over the next 10 years in modern, fit for purpose facilities.
The capital funding of €8m for apprenticeship equipment in the IoTs announced earlier this year will directly support an estimated 2,300 additional apprentices across 13 trades.